I have a deep connection to Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It connects me to my childhood, my mother and to values that I hold dear. It was a joy to be able to recreate some of my favorite scenes from the Christmas chapter through toy photography.
My connection to this American story began when a teacher read it aloud to my grade school class. My mom later told me that the same teacher had read the book to her at about the same age! Shortly after this introduction to the series, I began to receive two hardcover books each year until I owned them all.
While the adventures that Laura wrote about were exciting, the stories spoke to my young soul on a deeper level. I connected with the comfort, security, and love that she felt towards her family. These are the same feelings I feel when I look at the books and think of my own mom. I will always feel connected to her through these books and our shared experience of them.
While recreating the Christmas chapter I reflected on how life seemed so much simpler then. The absence of commercialism made the holiday season about love and giving from the heart. I imagine how Ma must have felt seeing her daughters’ joy over a simple pair of hand-knitted mittens or a homemade rag doll. I want my own photos of these events to convey the feelings of comfort, security, and love that I connected to as a child.
Several years ago, my husband helped me make the dollhouse and the dolls were purchased from a seller on Etsy. I completed the scene by hand stitching the clothes, quilts, stockings, and mittens. Even though my cloth dolls are poseable, they’re not able to stand on their own. Lucky for me the long dresses and rag rugs helped to hide the stands.
When I want one of the characters to hold an item, I must actually stitch it into place. While miniature doll food is readily available online, molasses candy was not. And because making the molasses candy is such an important part of the story, I created my own by using white felt and brown embroidery floss.
Creating each scene was a meticulous and painstaking process. One little bump and everything goes flying. But creating these scenes gave me lots of time to play with my dolls and dollhouse. How I would have loved to have this as a child! But now, as a toy photographer I have a great excuse to play whenever I want.
Happy holidays from me and all my friends from the Little House in the Big Woods.